how to buy a car in kenya

Car registrations witnessed a notable 25% increase, with 436,007 vehicles registered in September 2023. Registration costs ranged from 15,000 to 23,000 Ksh, while transferring a special number plate incured a fee of 30,000 Ksh. Approximately 7.7% of Kenyans own cars. 

Over the years, registered vehicles averaged 1,226,743 units, reaching the highest in 2021 at 2,095,088 units and the lowest in 2004 at 657,634 units. 

In 2020, around 347,000 new registrations occurred, primarily comprising motorcycles and autocycles (246,700 units). The number of Public Service Vehicles licenses decreased by 35.2% in 2022, totaling 35,897 licenses compared to 2021.

As 2023 concludes, Kenya anticipates a resurgence in vehicle sales driven by economic growth and reduced political uncertainty. 

However, the automotive industry faces challenges, including soaring prices, a weakening shilling, rising inflation, increased credit costs, higher interest rates, elevated taxes, surging fuel prices, and decreased vehicle efficiency. These factors have led to a decline in new vehicle sales, reaching unprecedented lows post-COVID-19. 

The Kenya Auto Bazaar Association warns of a potential sales slump as consumers grapple with the financial strains imposed by these complex challenges, highlighting the intricate dynamics influencing the nation’s automotive market.

When purchasing a car in Kenya, ensure you put these details into consideration: 

Documents Needed when Buying a Car in Kenya:

  • National ID card or passport.
  • Additional documents required by authorities like KRA and NTSA.

Tips on how to buy a car in kenya:

  • Check the paperwork to ensure the car is legal.
  • Obtain the original logbook as proof of ownership.
  • Verify the car’s registration online.
  • Inquire about the vehicle’s history.
  • Check and compare prices at multiple websites and showrooms.
  • Consider financing options by choosing between cash, leasing, or financing with a bank or MicroFinance loan.
  • Compare interest rates from different lenders.

The legal documents needed to own a car in kenya:

  • Your identification card and KRA PIN.
  • Seller’s identification document and KRA PIN.
  • Car’s logbook.
  • Written sales agreement.

Documents Required After Buying a Car in Kenya:

  • Logbook in your name.
  • Valid insurance certificate.

Tips how to avoid being conned while buying a car in kenya:

  • Have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic.
  • Don’t solely rely on online marketplace guarantees.
  • Check for existing liens on the vehicle.
  • Perform a comprehensive vehicle history check.

The responsibility for paying ntsa car transfer fees in kenya depends on the agreement between the buyer and the seller. However in most cases, the buyer typically bears the responsibility for these fees, as they complete the transfer process and register the vehicle in their name.


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The logbook transfer fees in kenya are based on the engine capacity:

  • 1000cc and below: Ksh 2,210
  • 1001–1200cc: Ksh 2,440
  • 1501–1700cc: Ksh 2,960
  • 1701–2000cc: Ksh 3,245
  • 2001–2500cc: Ksh 4,395
  • 2501–3000cc: Ksh 5,505
  • 3001 and above: Ksh 5,915

The logbook transfer requirements in Kenya:

  • Original logbook with filled ‘change’ section.
  • Copies of ID/passport for seller and buyer.
  • Certificate of Business Registration for corporate transfers.
  • Letters of administration or will for deceased owners.
  • Valid insurance car cover.
  • PIN cards for both parties.
  • Payment of purchase tax and transfer fee based on engine capacity.

Transfer services are accessible on weekdays and Saturdays, providing convenience. Additionally, the online logbook transfer system ensures round-the-clock access for a seamless process at your convenience.

In the coming years, the Kenyan automotive market is poised for growth, driven by a burgeoning economy and reduced political uncertainties. 

Factors influencing car purchasing behavior include soaring prices, a weakened shilling, rising inflation, credit costs, interest rates, taxes, fuel prices, and concerns over vehicle efficiency. These elements contribute to a complex landscape impacting consumer decisions and industry trends.

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